By Cristina Mariani
If you have ever received an Easter basket, among all the different tasty treats, you would most likely have found a nice box of Peeps. For those of you who had strict parents and were deprived as children, “Peeps” are marshmallow treats that are most commonly shaped like chicks; however, they can also be shaped like other animals. With 1.5 billion Peeps consumed in America during Easter, they are an iconic, eagerly awaited, seasonal symbol for the holiday, occurring only once a year. Until now, that is.
According to recent advertising campaigns, the candy is now “Always in Season”. As of May 1st, for only $2.69 you could officially buy yourself a bag stuffed with 24 Peeps anytime during the year. Just Born, the company that manufactures Peeps, conveys its motto in commercials for the new Peeps minis, in which individuals of all gender and age groups are seen celebrating holidays like Lost Sock Memorial Day, Static Electricity Day, and Take Your Pants for a Walk Day, with a bag of Peeps mini’s.
Said one Peeps Senior Marketing Manager, Brian Bachrach, “We’re making every day into a holiday.”
The Peeps are being introduced in four new flavors: strawberry crème, chocolate crème, sour watermelon and vanilla crème (which is only available at Target). While year-round Peeps may seem like a dream come true, people like Lynn Dornblaser believe that the new Peeps may dilute from the fun and wonder. She says, “Peeps mean springtime. They mean nostalgia. I think year-round Peeps would lessen the impact and harm the brand long-term." However, Bachrach remains confident in the year-round success of the new Peeps push and claims that the brand is mostly responding to consumers’ demands.
Though Peeps says that they’re just giving people what they want, the founder of Candy Blog, Cyblene May, said in an interview with Mike Pesca that Peeps have a nostalgic factor that may be lost in the “new Peeps”. When asked what was different about the year-round Peeps she said, “they’re smaller, they’re just maybe a third the size of a regular Peeps, so it’s one pop in your mouth instead of biting it in half.” The new Peeps are not connected at the sides like the original they are served singularly, which eliminates much of the stickiness. Although this may seem like a good attribute of the new candy, when asked if she agrees that Peeps’ stickiness may take people back to “sticky-handed childhood”, May said, “part of what I like about a marshmallow is the fact that they do stick to other things”. Speaking of the vanilla flavored peeps May wrote on her blog: “I liked them much more than I thought, though I still doubt I’d pick these up as a go-to candy, even in the summer.”
The manufacturers of Peeps remain positive and even have taken their advertising to Twitter. For example on June 5th, for Hot Air Balloon Day, the Peeps Twitter account sent a tweet of a green chick shaped balloon. In addition, Just Born is increasing year-round presence of the candy by creating partnerships with corporations such as Disney and Six Flags. Bachrach even thinks that the everyday sales could top the Easter sales.
Only time will tell if the new Peeps minis will really “make everyday a holiday”, or merely eliminate the childhood nostalgia their brand has cultivated over the years.